Johnson-Thompson set personal bests in four of her seven events to defeat long-term rival and defending champion Nafi Thiam, and deliver Great Britain’s second gold medal of these championships, after Dina Asher-Smith’s 200m success.
So often the 26-year-old has gone into major championships as a medal contender, only to falter, but this was a different Johnson-Thompson, a picture of calmness and confidence throughout, as she secured a first global outdoor title and move to number six on the all-time list with a score of 6981.
Johnson-Thompson went into day two as the overnight leader, having produced the fourth-best first day in heptathlon history on Wednesday.
Personal bests in the 110m hurdles and shot put had helped her to secure a 96-point lead over world and Olympic champion Thiam, with three events to come.
Both women are elite performers by any standard in the long jump, but while Thiam could only produce a mark of 6.40m, almost half-a-metre down on her personal best, Johnson-Thompson leapt 6.77m, her best ever effort inside a heptathlon, to increase her lead.
The penultimate event, the javelin has traditionally been one of Johnson-Thompson’s weakest events, and one of Thiam’s strongest. The Brit, however, laid down a solid marker of 42.21m with her first throw, taking the pressure off and allowing her to launch a huge new personal best – her third in six events – of 43.93m in round two.
That meant that Thiam would have needed to go close to her 59.32m personal best to establish the kind of lead that would give her a chance of holding onto the gold medal in the 800m, but the 25-year-old has hardly thrown this season because of a nagging elbow injury.
With her arm heavily strapped, it quickly became clear that such an effort was not on the cards here, and after throwing 48.04m in round two to ensure she was safe in the silver medal position, Thiam decided to pass up her final attempt, effectively conceding defeat.
That left Johnson-Thompson with a cushion of 137 points going into the 800m, and with gold all-but assured, attention turned towards Jessica Ennis-Hill’s British record.
To break that, the Liverpudlian only needed to dip below 2:09, but she once again surpassed herself, running yet another PB of 2:07.26 to finish on 6981, just a fraction shy of the magical 7000 point mark.
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